In four short years, Kaluuya, who is 32, and who grew up in public housing in London, has claimed a place in Hollywood among the most consequential leading men of his generation.

A child actor who got his start in the influential British teen drama ''Skins,'' he earned a best-actor Oscar nomination for his leading role in the United States, as the intrepid survivor of a secret race cult in the 2017 smash ''Get Out''.

Kaluuya followed that breakout moment with a succession of tailored and captivating performances in an eclectic range of genres. 

He played a conflicted warrior in Marvel's international blockbuster ''Black Panther,'' a blood-chilling villain in the Steve McQueen 

thriller ''Widows,'' a charismatic love interest in the romantic getaway drama ''Queen & Slim.''

Whatever the part, Kaluuya's bone- immersion pulled you a few inches closer to the screen.

Daniel Kaluuya sized up the room. It was the kind of Hollywood meeting room he'd been in countless times before, brightly lit, with white walls and framed posters of classic frames.

It was summer, 2019, and Kaluuya had driven to the Warner Bros, lot in Burbank, Calif, for a table reading of a movie that hadn't yet been cleared for production :

''Judas and the Black Messiah,'' a crime thriller and historical epic about the downfall of of Fred Hampton, the rising star of Black Panther Party, who was murdered by the police in 1969.

Seated next to Kauuya on one side of a long conference table were his would be co-stars, Dominique Fishback, Lakeith Stanfield and Jesse Plemons.

Clustered across them were the Warner Bros, bigwigs who had the power to give the film the greenlight : Niija Kuykendall, executive vice president of feature production; Courtenay Valenti, president of production; and Tobby Emmerich, head of the studio.

Kaluuya, who was playing Hampton, felt petrified. He figured he was only a quarter of of the way into preparing for the role, his first film based on a historical figure.

Word of whatever he did in that room, he knew, would spread throughout the building. What he didn't know was that the stakes were even more concrete - producers of the movie had arranged for the reading as part of an effort to get $1 million added to its budget. A good reception could persuade the studio to write the check.

During the second half of the hours-long reading, in a scene where Hampton gives a rousing speech to a throng of fired-up supporters, Kaluuya pushed all his chips on the table. 

''If I am going to die, I'm going to die shooting,'' he thought, standing up from the chair and staring out at the group.

Heart pounding in his chest, he thundered the lines of of a call-and-response that would later be made famous by the movie's trailer :


Daniel Kaluuya brings both deep preparation and spontaneity to his roles.You're going to want to give him your attention.

The World Students Society thanks author Reggie Ugwu.


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